photo by Marek Piwnicki (unsplash)
my first kiss was a train hopped trip down a graffitti track towards the silver moon discs of Selfridges; into the dusty darkness of New Street station; up the escalators to the Pallasades, down the Maccy’s Ramp, passed the Odeon, passed Bully’s Backside, into the glass house of the Bullring and down the lift to Clinton’s Cards on the ground floor; my aunty saw me back against the glass, knocking teeth with a pale face, thick lipped lad from Tipton who I’d never met before; my aunty saw me but she didn’t wave, didn’t call my name, didn’t make me twist and turn out of a monumental moment; she walked on, joined the queue for Nandos and called my mom. The Turn of Day I stand at the bedroom window, watch the clouds darken, as if they are soaking up an ink spill; watch the sun retreat fear sodden; watch the rain fall and scatter slow at first then the sky splits and spits water out like bullets. My land the Earth buckles under the strain, bleeds brown mulch, the flood an open wound. I watch as my flock are carried off, one by one, to a distant dream. I watch the harvest fall into the mouth of the gods And I watch the tyrannical hand of nature reclaim what is hers. I watch my life melt into the overgrown river and wonder how to swim. Thief I hear the sing song tale of the blackbird and I heed it’s warning she approaches small, hooded woman shrouded in black, marches her skeletal frame through wild free meadows searches for a bloom I stand stock still, hoping her white bone touch will only graze but it doesn’t her grip tightens around my spine and I am plucked from happiness my breath is forced from its cage, dew drop tears forced from my eyes open palms can’t catch a flood she devours each petal lets them curdle in the pit of her stomach bare and broken she carries me to her lair where I am tossed with the black feathered birds and ash her rasping breath blows a tornado, twisting me into a smog that will settle in my mind for however long she sees fit A Thief in the Night Rain sweeps in, blows out the lamplight - a thief in the night takes a chance runs free black bellied and cold it runs through the streets swells and spews through doors eats its fill of concrete and cobbles and life falls into the pits of its belly it sits bulging unmoved a swamp at the ankles of houses. Bio: Claire Hughes is a Birmingham born writer now living in Staffordshire. She achieved her MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and has had her poetry featured in online magazines such as; One Hand Clapping, 192 and The Babel Tower Notice Board. She has also been featured in anthologies by Dream Well Publishing and The Mum Poem Press and her debut pamphlet, Oblivion, will be published by Clayhanger press in the coming weeks. As well as writing poetry, Claire works in prose and has been longlisted for the Primadonna Prize.